The Birthday Party Essay

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In the following essay, Pountney provides an overview of Pinter's first full-length play, delineating the primary plot points and discussing the work's major themes.

The Birthday Party, Pinter's first full-length play, takes place at the home of Meg and Petey Boles and concerns their lodger, Stanley, whose past is obscure, though he fantasizes about having been a concert pianist. Meg gives Stanley a drum for his birthday, which he plays as though possessed as the first act closes. In Act II Stanley tries to get rid of some new lodgers, Goldberg and McCann, but they respond by subjecting Stanley to rapid-fire interrogation, until he is reduced to speechlessness. The act culminates in Stanley's birthday party, in which McCann breaks Stanley's glasses during a game of blind man's buff, the lights go out and, in a sinister climax, Stanley (encumbered by the drum, into which he has stumbled) begins...

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This section contains 928 words
(approx. 3 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy The Birthday Party Study Guide
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Drama for Students
The Birthday Party from Drama for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.